Czech Republic inks $627 million deal for Israeli missile defense system

Rafael’s SPYDER air-defense missile system, September 2008. Credit: Ereshkigal1 via Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS) — The Czech Ministry of Defense signed a 2 billion shekel (about $627 million) deal to purchase the Spyder surface-to-air missile system by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the ministry announced.

“I appreciate the willingness of the Israeli government to share with us a state-of-the-art defense system that will move our military towards 21st-century capabilities,” said Czech Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar, according to a report by DefenseNews.

“Finally, we will get rid of our dependence on the Soviet Kub [systems] from the 1970s, which do not meet the current requirements for airspace protection,” he said.

The Czech army reportedly plans to use the systems for at least 20 years; adding the cost of maintenance would make the total amount reach about $1 billion. The delivery of the Israeli system of four launchers is scheduled to be finished by 2026, said the ministry.

Rafael describes the Spyder system as a short- and long-range mobile air-defense system that can defend large areas against various threats, including aircraft, helicopters, bombers, cruise missiles, UAVs and stand-off weapons.